Leaders – Do Your Employees Have Shining Eyes?

Dr. Gluckman at ZapposLast Monday I had an experience that I think you will find very interesting.   The wonderful people out there who read my blogs know that my leadership development concept is called Spirited Economics which simply means that when leaders know how to ignite the spirit of the employees and then focus the remarkable energy that is released on the business goals, the financial results are spectacular.  I guess a shorter way to say this is that employee spirit is a quantifiable financial asset. Well, last Monday I was invited to train  leaders and managers at an organization that is already doing this with remarkable success.  The company’s name is Zappos.  This is the fastest growing online retail store in the USA.  and this is all due to a level of spirit in the company that has to be seen to be believed!

When I arrived, before I started the leadership training, a wonderful tour guide took me on a tour through this most unusual organization. And what I saw were the happiest, most inspired, excited and energized employees that I have ever seen in any company before.  Zappos has a 3-word vision statement, ‘To Deliver Happiness’ which has clearly been embedded in the way they do business.  The employee happiness jumps right out at you as you walk through the organization.  And customers feel it too because they love this company with a passion that is measurable by the 65% customer return rate, the evangelistic customer word-of-mouth and the extraordinary financial results!

Bringing Life to Vision and Values

Zappos is challenging every traditional (and may I suggest, outmoded and redundant) corporate modus operandi  from employee selection and training,  to measurement and reward, to office layout and in-house services for their staff… and this list goes on and on.  Not only do they live by their vision but they have a unique set of values, which they bring to life every moment of every day, such as,  Create Fun and a Little Weirdness;  Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-minded, and,  Deliver Wow Through Service.  In fact the company is so serious about employing people that are a cultural fit, that after a rigorous selection and training process, the new hire is offered $2000 to leave.   How’s that for making sure that you have a good culture-value-fit?!

Employees with Shining Eyes

As I walked through the open plan offices wearing my visitor badge, the employees rang cow bells, tooted horns and shouted greetings welcoming me in a way I have never experienced before.    As each person greeted me with a glint in their eyes, huge authentic smiles and a level of energy that was infectious, I found myself laughing, feeling light and energized.  The thing that struck me the most as I followed my tour guide through the organization was the fact that everyone had shining eyes. This is not something I see too often as I walk the hallways and sit in the boardrooms of most organizations.  They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul.  It is sad to say but there are too many soulless companies, filled with unhappy employees whose eyes are not shining and who have little energy and little spirit.   They are there only because it is a job and a pay-check. So for me, one of the tests of whether your company will achieve exceptional results is simply to look and see whether your employees have shining eyes.

So I guess you can read between the lines that my visit to Zappos was personally and professionally so uplifting because I saw my concept of Spirited Economics™ come to life!   Zappos is led by truly spirited leaders who have built an organization that is powered by spirited, happy employees that are delivering the kind of performance that is rare in these economic times.   I feel so privileged to have been invited to train some of their leaders and managers about Spirited Economics. 

In addition, video clips showing aspects of my training will be posted on the new Zappos consulting-coaching website in the next few weeks and months. 

If your company is an example of spirited leaders and spirited employees delivering Spirited Economics™ please let me know.  My goal is to identify these companies, study what they are doing and share this with other leaders.

In case you are interested in seeing an overview of the 7 Spirited Leadership Competencies that I addressed in my presentation to the Zappos Insights team, here it is:

From Zappos presentation by Sandy Gluckman

I’d love to hear your thoughts. ’till next time..

Dr. Sandy Gluckman


1 comment to The Eyes Show it All

  • Sandy,

    Thank you so much for investing in our team! We had a blast while you were here and have used the topic of your book in many of our discussions regarding leadership and our team interaction.

    I am a big proponent of the idea behind “spirited economics” and “spirited leadership”. I truly believe that it is the only way that a leader can be effective in leaving a legacy worth mentioning.

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